Welcome to another edition of Finance Friday
My goal with these posts is to share valuable insights not only in the money world, but also other areas I come across during the week that I believe you will find interesting and helpful.
As a reader of this blog, I value your opinion.
To better understand what you like and don’t like, I have incorporated a short survey into this post that I hope you will take 20 seconds to fill out.
This will help me improve what I am doing and also eliminate areas that may not be of interest to you – so make sure you are honest in your response!
And don’t forget to come back afterwards and read the rest of the post.
Here is the survey – your response is anonymous.
Thank you for your input.
Here is what I have come across this week, I hope you enjoy.
Quote I am pondering
This quote comes from something I shared on Twitter this week, because it received a good response, I thought I would share it here.
“It’s only the fooled that actually think they are fooling others.” – Me
I know this seems a little weird to be pondering my own quote, but this is something that has been on my mind this week.
I have been thinking about how for some reason, in our culture, there is a strong desire to be something we are not.
With social media tugging at us daily, we are constantly seeing things shared that have the intent of making us us believe others are something they really aren’t.
This pressures us to act the same way online with what we portray, and the vicious cycle continues.
I can’t help but believe we are only fooling ourselves, which ultimately makes us the fooled.
I believe a lot of the financial problems we seen in the world would be eliminated if we can get past our need to represent ourselves in a particular way.
True freedom comes from being able to be honest with ourselves, and by not having to worry about what others may think or say.
As a continuation of the quote above, here is the finance tip of the week: Ignore the Joneses!
This is harder than it sounds, and something we all struggle with in some way or another.
For some of us we may even be the Joneses, and may not know we are doing it.
It may be that our actions are causing others to feel like they have to keep up with us – while at the same time we are trying to keep up with someone else.
I have been looking closely at the things I am doing to try and gauge why I do what I do.
It is interesting what we learn about ourselves when we look closely at our actions.
I have been experimenting with this self -assessment over the last couple weeks.
When I am paying close attention to the things I say and do, I have seen a more honest representation in the way I interact with others.
Not that these interactions were dishonest previously, they were just not as intentional as I wanted them to be.
Same applies to the things we have. Are we buying cars – or other things – because we need them, or because of how they will portray us to others?
It is truly liberating if we can get to the point where we are not worrying about what others think and just being ourselves.
Stock Market Update
The stock market seems to have regained its legs – at least for now.
Even with no resolution to the trade talks with China, and the government shutdown, the markets are moving higher without pause.
Since Chairman Powell, with the Federal Reserve, stated that thy are going to ease their policy; the stock market has been up every day since.
Our initial reaction should be great, keep it up.
Anything to prevent a recession, right?
Well, as nice as that sounds, it does have consequences.
Think of it this way.
What if you had a serious infection on your arm, and instead of dealing with the issue, you just put a Band-Aid on it.
Problem solved, right. If you can’t see the issue, it must be gone.
We all know that is crazy and will only worsen the problem.
It is my opinion that is exactly what the Fed is doing.
It is kicking the proverbial can down the road. Eventually the issues will resurface.
As someone who has chickens, I’ll also say it this way: eventually the chickens will have to come home to roost.
Okay, no more proverbial expression, I think you get the point.
If the issue that is causing the Fed to jump back in and intervene isn’t dealt with, the problem will keep resurfacing.
It is just a matter of time.
In future post we will explore what some of these underlying issues are.
Book I am Reading
I am still reading Essentialism, and am really enjoying it.
An insight I liked this past week while reading it came from a quote he shared by Bronnie Ware – who is an Australian Nurse.
She specifically worked with individuals who were in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
She said when people are at the end of their lives, many of them have similar regrets.
Here is what she said was the most frequent one she heard: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This must be what I needed to hear and share this week because this blog post has centered a lot around this theme.
I can’t help but wonder if 99% of us just live life as it comes – and in a way that is expected of us.
Life can’t be all about play and fun. We all have responsibilities and things that have to be done, and many of these things are not glamorous.
There is no getting around those mundane tasks.
But, the direction is up to us.
The questions is where are we headed and what are we doing with our time here?
Are we living a life that will cause us regret when we are in our final hours?
What we ultimately accomplish is up to us.
For me I am focusing my energy this year in making sure I am intentional about the direction I am headed.
This goes for more than just my profession.
I want to be very intentional with my family and the time I spend with them.
I have spiritual and physical goals I am very excited about.
All of these areas of focus are pointing to my long-term goals and what I want to have accomplished when my time is up.
It’s all about direction.
I don’t have to do all of these things at once, but I want my position to be very different in December of this year than it is now.
I am excited to share the journey, and would love to hear some of your goals as well.
What is a government shutdown?
If you haven’t heard, the government is in shutdown, and has been since December 22nd.
So, what exactly does that mean?
Much of the government gets their funding through budget appropriations passed by Congress.
In the event a budget isn’t passed, certain government agencies stop operating.
There are two classes these workers of the government fit into.
The first is “excepted” employees.
An example of an excepted employee would be someone who works for the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, Secret Service, etc.
These are agencies that keep the public safe. Having them shutdown would be unsafe.
They are required to report to work but for the meantime they will not be paid until a budget is passed.
The other group is “non-excepted” employees.
They are considered furloughed and are not allowed to work during a shutdown.
These are jobs that are important but not vital for keeping people safe.
In the past, congress has passed a bill to back-pay these furloughed employees, but from my understanding that is not required.
Which means the financial toll on these families can be immense during a shutdown – hopefully they have been reading Finance Friday to help prepare for it, haha.
Without making light of the hardship this creates for families, it does point back to savings and the need to have it in place.
Around 800,000 employees are affected by the shutdown.
To go deeper into some of the questions around a shutdown, here is a good resource to help you better understand how they work.
Agencies like the Post Office get their revenue from stamps, so they are not affected by the appropriations bill Congress passes.
The main point of disagreement that is keeping us in shutdown is the border wall.
President Trump has stated he will not approve a bill until funding for the border wall is secured – they are asking approximately $5.7 billion dollars for it.
The cost to build the wall is a minor fraction of federal spending.
What it really comes down to is a difference in politics – with Washington should we be surprised?
The President needs this win to help with re-election as this was a main campaign promise he made that was integral into getting him elected.
The Democrats need to prevent it for the same reason, because a win on the border wall makes it harder to beat President Trump in 2020.
It will be interesting to see who wins the political tug of war.
The president even delivered a message from the Resolute Desk from the Oval Office on Tuesday evening.
He stated very adamantly that the situation at the Southern border is a national crisis.
Afterwards the Democrats had a rebuttal stating that what the President was saying is untrue.
Since that speech, negotiations have gone nowhere.
The President is adamant we need a wall, and the Democrats insist its immoral.
It doesn’t appear we will have a resolution anytime soon.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have a great weekend.